It’s Week 17 and some teams are looking to lock in playoff spots while others have been dead for months. This opens up some rare opportunities for hot takes that aren’t available in your average week. Who do the advanced stats and metrics point to this week? Let’s get to it.
Gus Edwards Goes for 20 DraftKings Points
Baltimore has already announced that Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram will sit out Week 17 with the Ravens already securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC. This leaves their backfield down to Justice Hill and Gus Edwards. The split between the two seems ambiguous, but Baltimore will still try and win this game. That means they’re likely to role out whoever gives them the best chance at winning, and they have repeatedly told us that player is Edwards.
Edwards has 116 touches on the year while Hill has 62. Both have received 45-percent of their touches in the fourth quarter. Both players have been relegated to mop-up duty this season, but Edwards has nearly double the touches. Role with the volume and let the drones chase Hill’s draft capital.
Not only will Edwards see the volume, but he’s also been a monster in terms of efficiency this season.
His 4.7 True Yards per Carry and 29.5-percent Juke Rate are both top-10, while his 1.44 Yards Created per Carry and 5.2 yards per touch are both top-20.
Edwards is a talented backup getting thrust into a major role, don’t overthink him this week.
Austin Ekeler Puts Up 75 Through the Air
Despite what most coaches and players say about football being a team sport, it’s often an individual sport for a handful of players at this time of year. There are a few players and teams with nothing to play for other than a novel record like George Kittle‘s 1,377 receiving yards in 2018, the most ever by a tight end. He went for 149 in a meaningless Week 17 game last season to get there.
We have a few of those situations this week and Austin Ekeler is among them. Ekeler needs 50 receiving yards to become the fourth running back to ever post 1,000 receiving yards in a season. His game versus the Chiefs could not set up more perfectly for him to get there.
The Chiefs have allowed the second-most receiving yards (832) and third-most targets (120) to opposing running backs this year, mostly due to them stomping a large portion of their opponents. This week figures to be no different, with Kansas City needing a win to stay in contention for a bye week. They’re eight-point favorites and that number is climbing.
Ekeler is fourth among qualified running backs in Catch Rate (85.7-percent) and first in yards per target (9.8). The 50 receiving yards he needs for 1,000 are a lock. Be on the lookout for 100 total yards and the all-time receiving yards record for a back.
Bonus: This article is mainly for guiding your high-leverage DFS plays, but also note that Melvin Gordon is likely to be gone after this season, leaving Ekeler as the three-down back in LA. He’s undervalued in dynasty leagues right now as well as DFS.
Courtland Sutton Drops 25 DraftKings Points on Oakland
Courtland Sutton has put up three consecutive performances with fewer than 12 DraftKings points. Last week, DaeSean Hamilton‘s six catches, 65 yards and one score all topped Sutton’s marks. This means nothing except that DFS players will start getting off Sutton right as he enters the ultimate smash spot.
Check out Courtland Sutton on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
Sutton faces Oakland this week and no one has been more friendly to opposing passing attacks than the Raiders. They are 32nd in the NFL in yards per attempt allowed at 7.9. Oakland’s secondary is particularly awful at stopping teams from generating chunk plays via the pass. They have allowed more passing plays (66) of 15-plus yards than any other team and they allow them at a higher rate (14-percent) than any other team as well.
Sutton has been targeted 10 times in each of the past two weeks and is top-10 with 24 deep targets. We’re getting one final explosion from him this week.